Artifacts, identification and support for change after an acquisition

Sarah Kovoor-Misra, and Marlene A. Smith
Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 Iss: 6, pp.584 – 604

Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the extent to which individuals’ identification with a changed organizational artifact is associated with their cognitive, behavioral, and affective support for change in the later stages of a change effort, and the role of contextual variables in mediating these relationships.

Design/methodology/approach – Primarily quantitative with some qualitative data from an online organization that had acquired the non-personnel assets of its competitor.

Findings – The paper finds that: artifacts can be an important part of employees’ perceptions of their organizations; artifact identification is associated with cognitive and behavioral support in the later stages of a change effort; a positive perception of the change mediates between identification and cognitive and behavioral support, and also facilitates affective support; emotional exhaustion is a marginal mediator; and trust towards top managers does not play a mediating role.

Research limitations/implications – Future research could study the factors that influence artifact identification. Studies of support for change must address its various dimensions to more accurately assess support.

Practical implications – During the later stages of change, managers can foster artifact identification, highlight the positives, and reduce emotional exhaustion to ensure support.

Originality/value – This study is one of the first to examine the relationship between artifact identification and support for change in the later stages of a change effort, and the mediating role of contextual factors. In addition, it investigates the multi-dimensional aspects of support for change, an area that has received limited empirical research attention.